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Wolf Gang's Max McElligott On Where to Hang Out in London + Style Icons



British band Wolf Gang, founded and fronted by multi-instrumentalist Max McElligott, has built a steady fanbase stateside since releasing their 2011 debut album Suego Faults, drawing comparisons to the Flaming Lips and MGMT for their shimmering, big-hooked sound. (We're big fans of their single, "Back to Back.") McElligott and Wolf Gang were on this year's Coachella bill, and we caught up with them at the festival's second installment last weekend to talk about style, where to hang out in London and new music they're working on.

Do you have a style icon?

MM: It's no doubt Steve McQueen. He's in every mood board for every photoshoot, as well as Cary Grant -- he's a well put-together man. I think the styling in The Talented Mr. Ripley was on point. I personally enjoy a Rivera vibe with a blend of classic English dress.

How do you describe your sound?

Early classic rock with Afro influences and a upbeat, summery pace.

Do you have any rituals when writing or recording?

MM: When possible, we like to escape all of the madness of studios and disappear to my quiet bedroom in Berlin, where, coincidentally, I have a rather large hat collection. We try on different caps from top hats to fedoras and this is when the real magic happens. 

Your song "The King and All of His Men" is taking over American air-waves. What's the song about?

MM: Initially the song was about terrorism, but men seem to relate it more with relationships.  We love the different interpretations. It's the same with "Dancing with the Devil." We were referring to Gordon Brown and how he is always pointing his finger, yet fans turned it into a love song. We love that.

Do you have a favorite new song you're working on?

MM: As of now, "Horizons." It takes place during the age of leaving school and entering the real world, not really knowing what the future holds or what the next step should be. We have so many loved ones out of work and confused. It's that mix of nostalgia and reality, and then pulling the energy together.

You're London-based. After playing your first show in the U.S., what did you think?

MM: Everything was bigger and more beautiful then we had imagined.  American fans have such positive attitudes and good vibes, which you don't always get that in London. Usually we get more of a "train crowd" -- people standing and listening. In the U.S. people are festive and dancing and singing along. But both crowds have their perks.

Do you have a favorite hang-out in London?

MM: There are so many, but Café Royal off Piccadilly Circle is always a good time.  It is this ornate 140-year-old hotel, that transports you into another era. The play amazing records from the 40's and the entire crowd roars with laughter and dancing. I'm actually a pretty good swing dancer, that is until I drop a girl on her head. 

If you could share a bill with other band or bands, who would you pick?

MM: That's easy; Fleetwood Mac, Bon Iver and Paul Simon. 

I'm sure you'll need a vacation after all these tours, any destinations in mind?

MM: I'd love to climb Machu Picchu, but if I had endless funds I'd spend a month on a beach and just relax.  I'd find peace and zie in paradise. 

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